Trinity Vestry Retreat
October 20 - 22, 2017





A parish church faces three basic demands of the spiritual life -

the need not to run away, 
he need to be open to change, 
the need to listen. 
They are based on a commitment which is both total and continuing. 
And yet the paradox is that they bring freedom, true freedom.
   -Esther de Waal


From the retreat





Advance work -- Please read and consider before we meet. 

Working Packet for 2017 - Please review all of it. Focus on page 2, pages 4 through 16, and pages 26 through 35

NOTE 1: The parish office will produce hard copies for the retreat. 

NOTE 2: The survey shows significant interest in adult formation. Obviously that's something the rector can simply begin to act on. However the rector may want some conversation with the vestry about related budget and logistical issues.

Developing direction - Vision

We're going to spend a good bit of time on questions of overall direction and vision.

1. We'll begin that with an exploration of the survey results. What does that suggest about direction?

2. We'll also participate in other exercises around parish direction. Some specifically about Trinity Parish, others about the general purpose and nature of the parish church. This last is to provide some base for our work in the corporate spirituality of the church. That may include working with the exercise in the packet beginning on page 26. It would be helpful if you could complete that exercise before the retreat. It's likely we'll explore it as a group. But even if time doesn't allow that it will serve as useful background thinking for our work.

3. After the retreat the rector will draft a statement of direction (think the next three years) that she will bring back to the vestry for further work. We suggest that the statement be one to one and a half pages.

You will want to decide whether to expand the discussion about that statement to include the whole parish. If you do that might take place in a meeting that includes feeding back the survey results. 

The rector will then draft a second statement. You will want to make a judgement whether that needs to be tested with the broader parish or whether the vestry is now able to act on it.

Why just the rector drafting the statement? -- The rector is the primary leader and staff person of the parish. The fact is that if the rector doesn't "own" the direction -- there will be no effective and sustained movement. You want a high degree of "ownership" from the parish and vestry in general. Such ownership doesn't mean that every single person agrees or that all have high ownership. Just that there is enough of a critical mass to provide the energy to move forward. But is the rector of a parish doesn't fully embrace the direction a parish ends up paralyzed.  The rector drafting the statement is also is a way of avoiding group think and the kind of statement that sounds like it comes from a committee (usually flat and lifeless).


A Daily Office Initiative -- Your survey indicates a higher level of interest in doing the Daily Office (a public office as well as individually) than we see in many parishes. So, that may be something to pick up on. This is a matter of worship so the decision is the rector's. However, it can be helpful for others to know what is involved in making a public saying of the Office happen.

As we look at your life together as a parish, the results of the survey, and our experience over the years with you – we have a sense that you could benefit by strengthening the corporate spiritual life of the parish through participation in the Daily Prayers of the Church, through more attention to adult formation, and an increased awareness of the relationship between common prayer and service. 

Evelyn Underhill makes the point that our service needs to be grounded in awe and adoration. What she’s getting at is the understanding that our service can easily become self serving, egotistical, and more about us than those we serve.  Our service needs to be grounded in the life of God. And what actually grounds us in the life of God is the common prayer of the church – the Eucharist, the daily office. The moral value of our service is not simply in the act itself but in the ground upon which we stand. 
As this is a decision for the rector to make we don't even anticipate giving any group time to it unless that emerges in the course of the work.


Anglican Ethos - The survey response on "Anglican ethos" was lower than the other elements in that section. That suggests a need for some strengthening in that area. This can impact the parish's energy and sense of commitment. The investment of people in the parish can be enriched and deepened by increasing people's grasp of our tradition. You might consider adding a section to the web site (you are welcome to use this material ), incorporating related teaching into sermons, creating a handout for members, and conducting programs that increase people's skill and comfort with related spiritual practices (for example Teaching Spiritual Practice)

The Process of Change  - A PDF on the Process of Change


Vestry-Leadership Conferences - This is the general working agreement the parish has with the consultants
We will spend about 30 minutes during the retreat on questions you may have about the consultation process. We'll be asking the rector and vestry to agree to an assumption that we will continue our working relationship for another three years. We're not asking that you make that commitment during the retreat. On the retreat we will simply allow time for any questions.
Your consultants -  About us




Friday Evening 

6:00    Social Time

7:00   Supper

7:45   Work Session: 1) Overview  2) Connecting  3) Getting started –

9:00   Compline – beginning with intro to doing the Office in a group (Michelle); then Compline -Hymn 24

9:30   Social time 


8:00   Breakfast

9:00   Morning Prayer -Ps 20 & 21  Reading - Matthew 11:7-15   Hymn 1

9:20   Work Session

10:30  Break

10:45   Work Session

12:00   Lunch

12:45   Work Session 

2:30   Rest – Recreation

6:00   Supper

7:00   Work Session

9:00   Compline - Hymn 24

9:20   Social Time

Sunday …. 20th Sunday after Pentecost      Proper 24

8:00   Breakfast

8:45   Holy Eucharist

9:30    Work Session – 
          1) Wrap up as needed – next steps, 
          2) Evaluation 
          3) Routine vestry work beginning around 11:00  
             Michelle & Bob will leave before the vestry begins to meet

12:00   Lunch

Overall Purposes of Leadership and Vestry Retreats

A yearly leadership conference that is a mix of:

1. Developing strategies and plans for the improvement of parish life & ministry. This would be based on a process of reflecting on and learning about, the whole, or some area of parish life
Community building among parish leaders
2. Spiritual development
3. Increasing the common competencies of parish leaders for the above. Part of our purpose is for the vestry and other leaders to increase their skills and knowledge for congregational development and leadership.

Specific area of interest for this year:

We were hoping to use the retreat to re-define our vision for the
next season of our life and create next steps to help us get there. Would also provide a backdrop for the calling of a new associate priest.


Wishing to work on our sense of what we want to be doing. How leadership can help with that.


A variety of associated elements have been mentioned: the parish's standing in the city, new associate priest, momentum, overall staffing pattern, inviting people to join Patty re. social justice, helping people know how to participate, working groups not yet in our DNA, helping people to connect with one another, involving broader groups in all this - role of All Swede's & Latino congregations


Assessments and surveys we make use of are not for the purpose of defining reality or making judgments.They are best used to begin structured and disciplined forms of parish conversations.

The assessments we

use offer a particular perspective grounded in the field of organization development and systems theory and incorporating a theological view of the parish church.
Vestry Retreats 2011 - 2016

Newsprint and working packets from earlier years - These may be useful for new vestry members to gain
a sense of the kind of work done and for ongoing members to recall what was done.

2016  -  Newsprint     Packet       

2015 - Newsprint   Packet

2014 - Newsprint       Packet

2013 - Newsprint     Packet

2012 - Newsprint     Packet

2011 - Newsprint     Packet